I have not been enthralled by a cookbook in a very long time. Then I received Yotam Ottolenghi‘s gorgeous book Plenty. As soon as I removed the wrapper and turned the first page; I knew a love affair was about to begin. The drool-worthy photographs and innovative recipes, made me want to cook every recipe in the book, and inspired me to make this Butternut Squash Stew.
Before training at Le Cordon Bleu in London, where his acclaimed restaurants are located, Ottolenghi’s spent his youth in Israel. After he served in the Israel Defense Forces, he studied philosophy and comparative literature. In 1997 he moved to London where he began toying with a passion.
Ottolenghi’s is of German and Italian descent, where food was the pillar for the family. From meals cooked by his grandmother in his own private Italy, in the middle of a Tel Aviv suburb, to drinking imported Italian espresso, he learned at an early age how to appreciate food. I am sure this love provoked the career change in London.
Even though Ottolenghi is of German and Italian, his Israel roots are evident throughout the book as the dishes are heavily influenced using exotic spices that are familiar within Israel. He plays with using everyday vegetables alongside grains, to create healthy and satisfying recipes; there is something for everyone in this book. The layout is not only gorgeous to look at but each ingredient is a chapter, making it easy to fulfill your desires. Craving mushrooms, flip over to that chapter. I found each recipe is easy to follow as well as easy to make at home. I have never had a problem finding the ingredients at my everyday market, and am hoping you don’t as well.
Everyone should have a vegetarian cookbook to fall back on when wanting to create new and exciting vegetable dishes. This should be the one that graces your bookshelf. We love this book so much, that we want one of you to enjoy it as much as we do.
Recipe: Butternut Squash Stew
*inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s chickpea stew
1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 yellow onion, small dice
2 tomatoes, chopped, keep the skin and seeds
2 cans (14 oz each) chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons Madras curry powder
2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cups spinach, washed and dried
In a large dutch oven heat the olive oil over low heat.
Add the onion, stir, and cook until soft; about 7 minutes.
Add the butternut squash, stir, and cook for 15 minutes.
Stir in the curry powder, salt, and pepper.
Add the tomatoes, vegetable stock, and chickpeas, stir and cook for 20 minutes.
Before serving, stir in the spinach, and gently heat for 2 minutes.
You want the spinach slightly wilted and still very green.